Doorstop, Parliament House

Release Date: 
5 March 2019

Subjects: The Morrison Government’s record $328 million investment to reduce domestic violence, Julie Bishop’s contribution to our nation.

KELLY O'DWYER: There can be no more important priority for government than keeping women and children safe. It is terrible to think that on average eight women present every day to a hospital because of violence against them – family or domestic violence. Our package, our $328 million package which is a record investment in reducing violence against women and children, will very much go to prevention of family and domestic violence, helping to respond very quickly on the frontline and also helping people to recover. And in the example of women presenting at hospital we are going to be training for the first time those frontline emergency service workers and health professionals to make sure that they can recognise the signs of family and domestic violence so that those women and children can get the help they need when they need it.

JOURNALIST: Is $328 million enough – I know you say it is a record investment – but how was the decision made that that was the adequate amount of funding needed?

KELLY O'DWYER: This is a record investment. As you know with the previous Action Plan it was just over $100 million, it is now $328 million, because we know we have to attack this problem at its source. It is simply not good enough to have statistics where there are police turning up to a domestic violence incident every two minutes; it’s not good enough to know that we have women dying each and every week because of family and domestic violence, so we are putting in place a record investment. It takes the Coalition’s investment now since 2013 to more than $840 million because this is a serious issues. We want to make sure that we focus as well on preventing the violence before it happens as well as responding to it when it does, so we are announcing today as well the very first national action prevention strategy. Now this prevention strategy will build on the very good work that we’ve already done with the Stop it at the Start campaign, which is all about sending the message that we need to respect women and respect girls. But it will also be a lot more interventionist, in that we know and have learnt from the QUIT campaigns how effective advertising and effective strategies in schools and right across the community can have a really significant impact in changing the way that people behave and also their attitudes, and ensuring that people actually step in and say to other men that it’s not right to behave in the way that they’re behaving.

JOURNALIST: Is it sad in this day and age that we have to teach people how to treat other people?

KELLY O'DWYER: I think civility and respect costs you nothing and perhaps it is a sad reflection but it is something that is important to do when you've got the terrible statistics that I've spoken about and it is a responsibility not only of our national government but also of state and local governments and of each and every one of us and as a community to actually address this problem, because every single statistic is a person – a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a work colleague – and the loss of even one of those lives is one loss too many. 

JOURNALIST: There's a large focus in this plan on prevention. One of the issues that's been raised by campaigners and advocates against domestic violence abuse in the past has been legal aid funding. Rosie Batty spoke about this being an issue. Was there consideration at all to looking at increasing the Federal Government's share of legal aid funding as part of this? 

KELLY O'DWYER: What we have done – and you'll know from the Women's Economic Security Statement – there has been a lot invested in health and justice partnerships to making sure that people who are going through the justice system get the support that they need so that they're not cross-examined by perpetrators in court, further compounding the effect and the fear of people being able to come forward and actually address these issues. We also know that there are lots of other issues with family and domestic violence such as financial abuse as well. And so we've put in place a number of strategies to be able to deal with that to be able to make sure that women can financially recover, to get on their own feet so that they don't need to rely on someone who is a potential or is an actual perpetrator.

JOURNALIST: Just on Julie Bishop, could she have beaten Bill Shorten at the next federal election?

KELLY O'DWYER: Well look, I love Julie, I love Scott, and the truth is the history wars are going to be fought out by the historians and you as commentators will all do the commentary. I'm not going to engage in history wars or commentary other than to say I think Julie has been our finest Foreign Minister. Marise Payne is doing a fantastic job catching up there but I think Julie has set the high water mark and all of us as a nation are deeply indebted for her wonderful service over so many years. 

JOURNALIST: But we're only asking these questions because Julie Bishop raised it, so were her comments unhelpful?

KELLY O'DWYER: As I said, I'm not going to get into commentary. I think Julie has served our Parliament, our Party and our nation impeccably well and I wish her all the very best for the next stage of what I'm sure will continue to be her very, very illustrious career.

JOURNALIST: There's going to be a lot mentioned, you talk about the historians talking about this particular chapter of history. Malcolm Turnbull might have a few chapters in his book. Will you be reading it?

KELLY O'DWYER: I'm going to be spending a bit of time after May with my two small children. I haven't been able to spend a huge amount of time with them to date and I'm very much looking forward to that, and I'm sure I'll get around to reading a few books. There are going to be many, many written about this time, I'm sure of that. Thanks very much.